Using Analytics to help websites improve their SEO – case studies

At The Internet Works we use Google Analytics on a daily basis for all our clients. After a recent request about how we used Analytics, I thought I’d share some examples of how we use it for a selection of different clients.

We use the Analytics platform to do two main things:

  1. We look for patterns. What measures are rising and what are falling? Which pages are converting and which are not? When are events happening and what is the effect? etc.
  2. We do tests. We design a hypothesis, analyse the results, iterate and then start again. The hypothesis can be a really simple one, e.g. ‘changing the title tag for the home page to include a different keyword will result in more visits’. Or it might be more complicated, such as ‘try three different versions of copy for sign-ups page – A/B/C split test – and see which one has higher percentage of sign-ups’.

How we set up Analytics for a client

We usually get clients to install Tag Manager with Universal Analytics. The main advantage to this is it enables us, the marketers, to manage all tag changes without having to involve developers.

Therefore we save time and money – no rewriting code and we can react to website changes quickly.

Say, for example, a client adds into the site a new page in partnership with a new client. With tag manager we can choose the events we want to measure (click on ad? view video? complete form?) and how it is reported – all without the need for extra dev time.

This also works with app tracking.

Deciding what data to capture

Once we are assured the tracking is working correctly and completely, we then do an audit of what data we are going to capture.

You can, of course, capture every single event that takes place on a website but in real-life that just means you’re going to drown in useless data.

It’s much better to focus on individual data sets, work on them, and then move on.

Much depends on the type of client – be they e-commerce, publisher, B2B, B2C, affiliate, SME or Enterprise – and the type of website – so here are some recent examples of the different ways we use Analytics.

1. Using Analytics for a video content publisher

A publisher in a very focused sector, which publishes lots of video content. They wanted to understand some basics:

    • Most popular videos
    • Play-through statistics (how many finished watching all the video)
    • Plays on Youtube channel vs plays on site
    • Where visitors came from (organic vs referral vs email)
    • Which categories performed best

 

But the publisher also wanted to get insight into commercial results:

    • How were subscribers generated (conversions)
    • Which interactive elements were used
    • Advertiser banner clicks
    • Email newsletter efficiency

 

We generated a number of insights for this client which resulted in them changing the way they presented the videos, how they used social media (we found Linkedin was a superior source of both views and subscribers compared to Facebook and Twitter) and by split-testing email newsletter designs we increased website visits and video views from this source by 20%.

2. Analytics and consumer e-commerce websites

Operating in a business-to-consumer sector, this client wanted to test AdWords PPC remarketing as a new channel.

We integrated the remarketing code on the site (through tag manager – no dev required) and then set-up the PPC campaigns (If you’re interested in pay-per-click you might also like this blog on blending SEO and PPC as a strategy to generate more web traffic.)

By measuring goal completions (purchases) and matching to ads / keywords / bids we could then optimise all these elements on a daily and weekly basis to gradually eliminate wasted clicks, reduce bid rates and increase ROI.

Remarketing now makes up a chunk of their total PPC budget and is focused only on certain categories of goods that were identified as performing better than others.

3. Using Analytics as a C-suite reporting tool

One client was bought out by a larger competitor. The new management required regular reporting of certain segments and KPIs.

We set up bespoke auto reporting so that individual data sets were delivered to individual managers via email direct from Analytics.

We also set-up custom dashboards for managers so that they could quickly find the info they wanted without having to delve into the entire Analytics package.

4. Analytics and site migrations

One client had four sites using an outdated CMS, which were merged and migrated to one new site on a modern CMS. This resulted in a six-figure number of web pages.

We used Analytics to find gaps in migration, where there might be 404 errors, broken links, duplicated pages, missing title tags etc. This enabled us to fix most issues within one week of the move.

5. Using Analytics for event tracking

We set-up event tracking for all of a consumer website’s internal promotions, subscription sign ups and social media buttons.

With the data generated we could identify weaknesses and strengths and used the data to inform our hypotheses when testing different ad positions and button designs.

Over period of a year we have increased conversion rates for promotion interaction and sub sign-ups while also increasing social media shares.

 

Lead image: Infographic vector designed by Freepik

Written by

TIW's head of search, Jez has been in web marketing and SEO since 1999. His specialties are SEO and PPC, with a dash of market research and analysis

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